Ego, Duality, and Paradise (Why You Can't Get to Paradise on an Ego Trip)
If you’ve been on a conscious spiritual journey for any time at all, you have likely figured out that there is an aspect of you that is working overtime to keep you out of Nirvana. That pesky entity is none other than your ego. Your ego, however, does not realize it is a problem; instead, it believes itself to be your heroic savior and the only thing standing between you and extinction. Indeed, the ego is correct in this—without your ego, there would be no “you.” Your ego is the aspect of your psyche that maintains the idea that you are an individuated, separate, autonomous being. Laboring under this notion, it attempts to steward your life according to this model, and rebels at the notion that you are actually one with all Creation.
Your ego is entirely invested in the duality matrix—the reality model that turns on there being more than one. The duality matrix is not “evil,” it’s just not suitable for human habitation. The problem with duality for human beings is that there is no lasting joy, no contentment, no peace to be found within it. And, because it does not support your full interface with the Source of Life Force, duality is, literally, the realm of death. Your tether to the duality matrix is your ego. If the tether were broken and you escaped the lower frequencies of the duality matrix and re-entered the high-frequency state of Oneness, you would find that there is no “you”—or “I”—there’s only…well…Everything. In Oneness, there’s only un-compartmentalized, pronoun-less, infinite Consciousness and limitless Life Force. As you can see, because your ego depends on the concepts of individuation and separateness for its existence, Oneness is your ego’s greatest threat. But the higher frequencies of Oneness, the realm of your Spirit, is where everything you long for— harmony, peace, bliss, true wisdom, and free-flowing ease—resides! Are you seeing an irreconcilable difference here?
And, yet, reconciliation is what is called for. You must disempower your ego by simply refusing to allow it to drive you, and choosing to let the part of you that is perfectly interfaced with Oneness guide you instead. It won’t do to struggle with ego—fighting it is exactly what will keep you in the duality matrix and empower it further. Duality, which is, by definition, two forces in opposition (good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, etc.), is always strengthened by conflict, as conflict is the very hallmark of duality. Forces in opposition do not create peace, harmony, or joy. So fighting your ego is a losing game. In fact, offering Love to your ego, while still refusing to buy into its dramas, is far more effective. Remember that your ego is simply doing what it needs to do to survive, and, like any entity that is fighting for survival, it can be vicious and tenacious. The more threatened it perceives itself to be, the more deeply it digs in. So the trick to disempowering your ego is to observe it, say “thanks—but no thanks,” and re-tune your receiver to the broadcast of your Spirit.
Yes—maintaining a sole focus on your Spirit and empowering your Spirit’s full stewardship of your life is the path to rising above your ego, but you will likely find that your ego is doing its best to keep that from happening. So, until you have risen out of the duality matrix to the place where the ego has no power, it is important to observe your inner dynamics to recognize the tune ego is playing and know when ego has managed to cut in on your dance with Spirit. The true saving grace here is that your conscious mind has free will about whose tune to dance to, and you can choose not to respond to your ego. In order to make that choice, however, it is helpful to understand your ego’s modus operandi, to know who is running its show (or, to continue the dance metaphor, who is writing the music it is playing), and to recognize when ego has taken control of the dance floor.
While your ego and your reptilian brain, the primitive brain structure that houses your autonomic nervous system and your primal, reflexive instincts, are not one and the same entity, it is instructive to know that the reptilian brain acts as the “puppet master” for the psychological overlay that is your ego. The reptilian brain is the part of us that is consumed with survival issues, thrives on fear, and is continually concerned with the preservation and conservation of self, tribe, and possessions. It is the instinctive part of human nature that snaps into action to protect you without a reasoning process being involved. The reptilian brain is definitely not Oneness oriented, but oriented toward survival of your physical being, and sees status as a key element of your survival. The reptilian brain is not “bad,” indeed, it plays a vital role. Without it, you would not able to stay embodied, and your being in a body is an important part of the Creator’s plan. But your reptilian brain is not meant to be in charge of your life, as it is simply not the aspect of you that is going to take you where you want to be in consciousness, or provide the spiritual freedom you long for. At it’s core, the ego embodies what the reptilian brain embodies—separation and reactive protection from perceived threats (whether they are actual or not), with a “specialty” in status preservation. With this part of you calling the shots, what are the chances for joy, harmony, peace and a sense of free-flowing ease?
Your Spirit, on the other hand, is a Oneness entity. It exists above duality, where wholeness, harmony, peace, and flow are the hallmarks of existence. There is no conflict in this realm; indeed, when there is only One, there is nothing to come into conflict. Your Spirit’s identity is Love. Period. Your Spirit has no status issues—status is a duality matter, as status requires comparison, and in Oneness, there is nothing to compare. Your Spirit is the highest frequency aspect of you, and by virtue of its constant, perfect interface with the Source of All, is omniscient and omnipotent. Becoming more fully vibrationally merged with your Spirit is the goal on the spiritual pathway, as it is where everything you deeply long for exists. True wisdom, harmony, bliss, wholeness, and free-flowing ease are accessible only by being interfaced properly with your Spirit. You simply can’t be fully interfaced with your Spirit and experience the perfection of the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony that is Oneness. when you are being receptive to your ego’s messages of separation, fear, and paranoia.
So how do you begin to consciously disempower your ego, withdraw from duality, and more fully embrace Oneness? First, identify when ego is calling the shots by paying attention to what is going on in your emotional and mental bodies. Emotionally, be aware of what you are feeling. Are you experiencing joy? Or are you experiencing less-than-joy? When your ego is engaged, your feeling nature is depressed or distressed, you feel a shutting down of your solar plexus and your heart center, and anger, sadness, or numbness manifest. When, however, you are properly aligned with your Spirit, you experience varying degrees of joy. Indeed, the feeling response to operating at the higher frequency range that is the realm of your Spirit ranges from simple joy—that light, open, heart-leaping-up feeling that arises when you move upward in frequency, feel more cohesiveness with your world, and feel more Life Force moving through you—to total ecstasy, which is the overwhelming electrical experience of being fully aligned with Source’s awesome power. You might call joy the carrot that the Creator installed in the plan to assure that we are never without a compass to find our way Home, and that we never lose our desire for our authentic state, Oneness. When you are in true joy, it means that you have transcended your ego. If you are not in joy, it means that your ego is engaged.
To keep ego from raining on your joy parade, stay present with your mental processes to see what is going on, and make conscious choices about where you will place your focus—in duality, or in Oneness. Duality is a powerful habit, and is thoroughly supported by our culture, but you do have a choice of how deeply invested you are in it. By being mindful, you can begin to pull the plug on its power in your life. Mentally, you’ll know you are immersed in duality and that your ego has taken over when you notice yourself in judgment. Judgment is the crown jewel of the duality matrix. When you are comparing and judging yourself or others, ego is at the helm. If your thoughts are defense-oriented, you know that the reptilian brain is acting through your ego. When you notice this going on, you can simply withdraw your energy from it, and refuse to play ego’s game. You can intentionally shift to Oneness by choosing to relax and be drawn upward in frequency into alignment with the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony, and to radiate Love, the primary activity of this Divine Design. You can tap into compassion—for yourself, first and foremost—and remind yourself that only Love will put you where you want to be.
Let’s look at a practical example of ego interfering, and some possible ways to handle it. Allow me first, though, to explain that your ego has no concept of Divine Order—no understanding of the larger, cohesive story that is unfolding according to the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony that you can align with simply by releasing the stewardship of your life to your Spirit. Your ego’s vision is limited to the world it can observe with the senses, and being embroiled in the duality matrix such that it is, means that the world it can observe is usually not free-flowing, harmonious, cohesive, or orderly, and most often seems threatening. So, it goes into automatic control mode as a misguided means of survival—in fact, it stays there most of the time. Your ego always believes it knows what is supposed to be happening, and when what it observes does not match up with what it believes it should be seeing, it leaps to the idea that things are going very wrong. The discrepancy between what your ego perceives as right, and what is actually aligned with the Divine Design for Wholeness and Harmony is, probably, the single greatest source of frequency-lowering, duality-matrix reinforcement.
Okay. Imagine a situation in which your goal is to open a spiritual center. Say you have meditated and prayed and have received a beautiful vision of what this center is to be and what it will provide as a blessing to the world. Imagine, too, that you have found the ideal place for this center, and you have made an offer on it. You are feeling so great about what is unfolding, and you are just certain that everything is falling into place. Your Spirit is soaring! Now, imagine that you are notified that not only has your offer on THE perfect place been turned down, but that this place—YOUR special place—has been sold to someone else—and that someone doesn’t even have a spiritual purpose in mind for it! What is your response? Now, be 100% honest with yourself. If your first thought is anything but an immediate “Wow—this means that something even more appropriate is on the way!” your ego has jumped in. Most likely, your ego immediately assumes that something has gone wrong, that the seller is an idiot, that something is wrong with you, that the world is against you, etc., etc. Whatever its litany, you can be sure that when your ego jumps in, your frequency drops, and you slide right on down the scale, out of the joy space, and into the nether regions of less-than-joy, where, by the way, your vibrational frequency will not likely attract anything very desirable into your experience! (So don't bother looking for another property while in that state of being!)
What can you do when this occurs? The most effective thing is to snap out of it, realize your ego has hijacked you, and make “Wow—this means that something even more appropriate is on the way!” your second response. If this just doesn’t fly, and your ego won’t seem to let go of the idea that, indeed, it has unfairly lost out on the perfect place, then what you need to do is surrender to your Spirit, and reaffirm your understanding of the Truth and of the perfection of the Divine Design. If you can’t quite get there, then do anything that will raise your frequency back up to where you can see those things.
Since your consciousness is lowered proportionately when you’re at lower frequency, and any Truth that you have ever known always seems to have flown out the window when you’re there, it’s helpful to have a list of a few never-fail frequency-raising activities at hand. Some of the ones that seem to be universally helpful are uplifting music, communing with Nature, meditation and prayer, breathwork, aromatherapy, exercise, and hydrotherapy, but I’m sure you have some personal favorites to add. Of course, a little grieving or other stress release first will greatly expedite the frequency-raising process.
The higher your frequency, the less the duality matrix can affect you, and the more easily you can listen to your Spirit’s message of harmony and Divine Order, and thus, tune out the grating voice of your ego. And, in the above example, the more likely it is that the true “ideal place” for your spiritual center will be able to reveal itself to you. Not to mention, you’ll probably find out that the place you “lost” was built over a toxic waste dump or is going to be demolished to make way for a new freeway! But no matter whether you ever know the higher level reason or not, the choice to experience harmony, joy, ease, and freedom is a simple matter of who you empower: your ego, or your Spirit. You can trust that when you empower your Spirit, you will be moving ever closer to Home, the blissful Paradise of your longings.
©2005 Julia Rogers Hamrick
Julia Rogers Hamrick has been a spiritual-growth facilitator since the mid-1980s, and is the author of Choosing Easy World and Recreating Eden. Julia teaches about the relationship between vibrational frequency and experience.